Notes on prospects who stood out over the weekend, including (the other) Cody Reed, (the Reds) Cody Reed, Matt Chapman, Joe Gatto, and Tyler O'Neill.
Prospect of the Weekend:
Cody Reed, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks (Low-A Kane County): 5.2 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 11 K.
In Reed’s first two starts this year, he’s struck out 22 hitters, walked zero, and given up one more earned run than you and I have this season. The D’backs 2014 second-round pick is massive, and he uses that size and impressive arm strength to showcase a plus-plus fastball. Both of the secondary pitches lack consistency, but this is a very talented southpaw who could pitch in the middle of a rotation in the next 2-3 years.
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'What's innovative is not to chase the shiniest thing and worship it.'
Recently, the prospect team here at Baseball Prospectus ranked the Dodgers the top farm system in baseball on the strength of the league's finest combination of high-end talent at the top and depth throughout. In my 2016 team preview a few weeks back, I talked at some length about the front office and scouting department overhauls—and the funding structure behind them—that paved the way for this transformation. Current Director of Player Development Gabe Kapler was part of the wave of front office hires by the organization in 2014, and I sat down to talk with him about how he views his role and how the organization is going to go about turning its giant minor-league collection of tools into big-league talent that will help the club win games.
One look at the uncertainty of your favorite prospect.
Yesterday afternoon a tweet appeared in my mentions, more or less out of the blue, about a particularly impressive crop of former college baseball players in last night’s game between the Lakeland Flying Tigers and the Brevard County Manatees.
That shouldn’t be too surprising, considering that most good SEC players will find their way to High-A sooner or later, and the Flying Tigers are the Florida State League affiliate of the Detroit Tigers, who have pretty much drafted all my favorite college players over the past few years: In 2014 alone they picked up South Carolina catcher Grayson Greiner and his teammate Joey Pankake, whose three years in Columbia I followed and chronicled obsessively. They added Vanderbilt pitcher Adam Ravenelle and Virginia pitcher Artie Lewicki, both College World Series standouts that year, in the same draft, and a year later picked up Tennessee outfielder Christin Stewart and TCU pitcher Tyler Alexander with their first two picks in 2015, then added LSU catcher Kade Scivicque in the fourth.
Running down the moves made by the experts in the TGDX dynasty league this week.
Welcome back to TDGX Transactions, our newest weekly series at BP, providing fantasy owners with an inside look at The Dynasty Guru Experts League (TDGX), a 20-team (40-man roster) 5x5 rotisserie dynasty league. It is the literal embodiment of the phrase “deep dynasty.” It’s also populated by some of the most talented fantasy baseball analysts and competitors on the planet. This series, crafted in the style of Mike Gianella’s Expert FAAB Review, will take an in-depth look at each week’s TDGX free agent acquisitions ($100 FAAB budget per team with zero dollar bids allowed) and break down every major trade that occurs during the season.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Harrison Bader
Harrison Bader, OF, St. Louis Cardinals (Double-A Springfield): 4-for-5, 2 R, 2B, HR.
Bader was the Cardinals third-round selection last year, and many feel he fell to that round because there was no standout tool. The issue with this, for me, is that when you have five average ones, that can be the standout tool, especially when you can play center field. Be it as a fourth outfielder or as a starter in a premium position, Bader is going to bring value. If it’s the latter, he’ll be regarded as a draft steal.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Tyler Glasnow, Braden Shipley, Drew Ward, and Daniel Palka.
Prospect of the Day:
Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates (Triple-A Indianapolis): 6 IP, 2 H, BB, 11 K.
Glasnow has left little doubt about his readiness to jump into a big-league rotation through four International League outings this April. He reportedly worked in some 91-mph changeups, and has now limited his walk total to just seven through 21 innings. All systems certainly appear go here.
Notes on prospects who stood out over the weekend, including Junior Fernandez, Josh Bell, Dinelson Lamet, Tyler Krieger, and Jaime Schultz.
Prospect of the Weekend:
Junior Fernandez, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals (Low-A Peoria): 8 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 10 K.
Signed for $400,000 after taking the Alex Reyes/Lucius Fox route (prep then international), Fernandez’s talent is up there with anyone’s. The fastball is double-plus and has been clocked up to 99 mph, and he throws a change that will make any hitter who sits on the heater look silly. The breaking ball appears to be coming along, and even with a delivery that has some effort, he absolutely has a chance to stay in a rotation.
After a breakout 2015 season, the Rays' top prospect gets at least a spot start.
The Rays drafted Snell with the seventh of their 10 first-round picks that year, as a supplemental pick for the loss of Brad Hawpe. He will be the third member of that class to make it to the bigs (Mikie Mahtook and Tyler Goeddel being the other two). Snell didn’t get off to the greatest start in his pro career, as he struggled to throw strikes and prior to 2015 had a walk rate of 4.9 in 287 innings. But he did showcase a premium arsenal with a strikeout rate of 9.5. Things finally clicked for the tall lefty in 2015, as he lowered his walk rate to 3.6, improved his strikeout rate to 10.9, posted an ERA of 1.41, and finished with a masterful nine starts in Triple-A. All of this made Blake Snell our Top Prospect for the Rays for 2016, as well as 21st in our top 101
When he was drafted Snell was a raw, inconsistent lefty out of the Seattle area, flashing feel for pitching as well as a long projectable body to dream on. It took a while for the command and pitches to take a step forward, but he firmly blew down the door in 2015. His fastball is 92-94 and will touch 96 when he needs it, but the pitch plays to double-plus with plus movement that generates a lot of weak contact and awkward movement. His primary off-speed pitch is a slider with really hard downward tilt, and he is comfortable throwing away to LHH. (He's also comfortable burying the hopes and dreams of RHH.) His changeup flashes plus because of his arm speed and the offering's late drop, though the pitch is behind his others in terms of overall command as he struggles to leave the pitch up. He always had a feel to pitch but the numbers finally backed it up, as he showcases above-average control and average command of his arsenal. His long-term outlook has top-of-the-rotation stuff, but pitching in the big leagues is hard and it needs to be seen how his strike-throwing ways will do against big-league hitters.
With former no. 1 Javier Baez graduating, there's a new top dog in StashListVille.
For a refresher on the four types of players that are eligible for inclusion on this list, please see the first edition of the year to find out why players like Devon Travis and Ender Inciarte are not listed below. Last week’s Stash List, can be found here.